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#1 of 16 Old 09-22-2008, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all,

I went for a little visit with my family last week to Toronto. We were mainly in Pickering and Missassauga. It was nice to see and explore. I just had a few questions. It is a little bit expensive considering how much tax you have to pay compared to the states. And I couldn't believe u guys don't have a target...is zellers the closest thing to a Target. Also, where is the best place to buy children's clothing (preferably Carters) and that is not too expensive? I noticed some of the quality of stuff is not as nice as it is in teh states and many of my friends told me they do their shopping in NY. What about organic food? Where do you all shop since there isn't a trader joe's either. How do the pediatricians feel about no vaxing?

Looking forward to hearing from you all soon
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#2 of 16 Old 09-22-2008, 09:54 PM
 
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Hello all,

It is a little bit expensive considering how much tax you have to pay compared to the states.
I always think it's a little difficult for Canadians and Americans to compare costs. Yes, many things in Ontario are expensive, and our tax rates are higher. BUT I had universal heath care, excellent public school educational system WITH free school bus transportation, and access to other social programs if needed. In my Toronto suburb, I had a flat water rate (not based on usage), and didn't pay for garbage removal, snow removal, or street cleaning (except within my tax payment). The Toronto Public Libary is one of the best (if not THE best) system in the world. My kids participated in a wide range of programs offered by the city's Parks and Recreation department (dance, swim, basketball, Shakespeare for kids at the library...), - from no cost to about $50. I have had friends transfer to the U.S. and complain endlessly about these exhorbitant costs and others. In Ontario, a lot is folded into tax system. In the U.S., you pay upfront, and pay, and pay.... I think you would have to calculate all expenses carefully before you dismiss one place as being more expensive than another.

Sadly, there is no Target. Zellers, Walmart and Costco are probably the lowest priced retail outlets. Old Navy is pretty popular, and there are other chain Children's stores - The Children's Place and Gap Kids are two that come to mind.

From Pickering, I'm not sure about organic food. There is a good organic farmer's market in Riverdale, which is in eastern Toronto, and a Whole Foods downtown. From Mississauga, Whole Foods is probably the largest organic market.

I hope that answers some of your questions.
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#3 of 16 Old 09-22-2008, 11:10 PM
 
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It is a little bit expensive considering how much tax you have to pay compared to the states. A little bit, yes, but we don't have to pay to go to the doctor

And I couldn't believe u guys don't have a target...is zellers the closest thing to a Target. Yes it is I wish we had Target though, or I wish Zellers was a bit better.

Also, where is the best place to buy children's clothing (preferably Carters) and that is not too expensive? Value Village Sometimes I see Carters stuff at Winners (similar to T.J. Maxx)

I noticed some of the quality of stuff is not as nice as it is in teh states and many of my friends told me they do their shopping in NY.

What about organic food? Where do you all shop since there isn't a trader joe's either. There are small natural food stores everywhere. Regular grocery stores carry lots of organic foods, I get mine (many produce and dairy items) at Loblaws. There are some Whole Foods stores and a good one is The Big Carrot in the east side of Toronto.

How do the pediatricians feel about no vaxing? There are some that are ok with it but I think for the most part, it's recommended.

Amanda - wife to DH Kellyjog.gif, Mummers to Trentreading.gif born 03/03/05 Bridgetdust.gif born 08/08/07 and a IT'S A BOY! Kennedy babyboy.gifborn 02/20/11!
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#4 of 16 Old 09-23-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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What about organic food? Where do you all shop since there isn't a trader joe's either. There are small natural food stores everywhere. Regular grocery stores carry lots of organic foods, I get mine (many produce and dairy items) at Loblaws. There are some Whole Foods stores and a good one is The Big Carrot in the east side of Toronto.

[/B]
Oh, The Big Carrot, great shop!

On the tax issue, I forgot to mention the 12-month paid parental leave policy and affordable university tuition, including professional schools - compare the cost of a law or medical degree in Canada.

Ummy, when you visited Toronto, did you enjoy driving on the toll-free highways (only one toll road, and easy to avoid it) or did you use the single-fare public transit system, that allows you to enter the subway/bus/streetcar system for a single fare, $2.75, and then make as many transfers as needed to get to your destination?

Have I persuaded you yet that those taxes are value for money?
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#5 of 16 Old 09-24-2008, 11:05 AM
 
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Wow, a lot of people seem to be up on their high horses about the tax issue. Most Canadians are pretty protective of their social services... yet somehow we still manage to elect people who want to privatize everything and follow a more US model. Strange.:

Ummy, it's true, Canada is pretty different from the States. We have a smaller population so, yes, the shops often don't have the same selection as you will find there.

Brand loyalty might be tricky for kid's clothes. Zeller's is generally not as good as Target from what I hear. You can try Sears for good deals - Sears Canada is pretty different than in the US. There is a clothes swap at one of the early years centres near me and value village is another good resource for used clothes as someone mentioned. I only have one LO and am a sucker for unique/handmade clothes, so I probably shell out a bit more to have a cool looking kid.

There are several organic markets in Toronto. Unfortunately, I don't know the situation in the more suburban areas. There is a market every thurs. afternoon in Dufferin Grove Park and on the weekend in High Park... not sure if that one goes into fall/winter. The St. Lawrence Market has a farmer's market and you can find lots of great stuff there on the weekend as well. There are lots of health food stores and organic fruit & veg stores and butchers sprinkled throughout the city.

On an upbeat note, I was just reading the thread on organic vs. regular milk. It seems that Canadian milk is a far safer bet.

Good luck and I hope that you adjust to life up here. I also hope that you are from the northern part of the States... so the winter will not be a total shock
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#6 of 16 Old 09-24-2008, 11:27 AM
 
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Zellers and Target both sell Cherokee brand clothes.

I disagree about the quality of stuff- most things are the same on either side of the border, and what is different, I find is lower quality in the U.S., especially things like produce.

We pay high taxes, but it is still less than what some Americans pay for health insurance, not to mention copays, deductibles, and other expenses.

Jam 7, Peanut Butter 5, and Bread 2.

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#7 of 16 Old 09-24-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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The right to informed consent for any medical procedure or test is guaranteed by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and only the MMR and one other vax is required for school and exemptions are ridiculously easy.

Jam 7, Peanut Butter 5, and Bread 2.

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#8 of 16 Old 09-24-2008, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah how are the winters up there? Is it really cold and bad?

So does the govt give families who have stay at home moms a monthly allowance? That's good if it is true.
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#9 of 16 Old 09-24-2008, 08:44 PM
 
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S. Ontario winters are not bad at all. They are much milder than Buffalo even.

The government gives every family 100/month, taxed for every child under six, but they completely ravaged the subsidized child care programs, so I hope it gets reversed in teh future. Plus, there is the child tax credit, which ranges depending on income.

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#10 of 16 Old 09-25-2008, 05:02 PM
 
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It's kind of like comparing apples to oranges... Unless you factor in EVERYTHING we don't pay because of our higher taxes then it's not really a fair comparison.

As for being paid to be a SAHM... You will receive $1200 per year for the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) for every child under 6 and $500 (I think) sports credit for every child over 6 and under 16. Plus you will get the Canadian Chil Tax Benefit (CCTB) which is based on family income. You can use this online calculator see what you may be entiled to in CCTB based on province of residence.

That's the other thing, taxes and cost of living range a lot based on where you are located.

LP
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#11 of 16 Old 09-25-2008, 05:06 PM
 
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The 500 dollar sports credit is for a child of any age, and it is a tax credit. When you file your taxes, you can claim the sports costs for your children up to 500 dollars.

Jam 7, Peanut Butter 5, and Bread 2.

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#12 of 16 Old 09-25-2008, 05:52 PM
 
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The 500 dollar sports credit is for a child of any age, and it is a tax credit. When you file your taxes, you can claim the sports costs for your children up to 500 dollars.
Even the under 6 crowd? Hmmm I wonder which sports apply... I know swimming doesn't count even though it's called a "fitness tax credit" and swimming is certainly fitness... Meh. Off to find out thanks!

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#13 of 16 Old 09-25-2008, 05:54 PM
 
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Swimming definitely counts. We got money back for both our children's swimming lessons.

Jam 7, Peanut Butter 5, and Bread 2.

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#14 of 16 Old 09-25-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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Swimming definitely counts. We got money back for both our children's swimming lessons.
I guess I haven't looked into it much since they proposed the credit a couple years ago. Good to know that swimming does count now though.

It's not as nice a credit as it could be but it's better than nothing. Only 15% (or so depending on the tax year's lowest marginal tax rate) of allowable expenses up to the $500 limit per child. That means I'd have to pay out over $3300 in qualifying program costs to qualify for the full amount. Oh well, like I said, better than nothing but not exactly an incentive to do it IMO. More of a "If I'm doing it anyway" then it's nice to get some money back type of deal.

I'm sure my cousin benefits nicely from this though as she has 3 boys who are all very much into hockey and one is a goalie (who just got on the Jr Knights team!) and that gets very expensive. I think she works full time just to afford their extracurricular activities

ETA - I think I misunderstood the credit... It looks like only $500 of expenses are allowable so a credit maximum of $75 and not the amount I previously stated. Is that correct.

Sorry for hi-jacking

LP
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#15 of 16 Old 09-25-2008, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, i guess you Canadians have some advantages than us Americans.
I know in Europe they do the same thing...give a certain amount per month for each child. Also, isn't child protections laws in Canada more tougher than in America? I heard so many cases where children were taken to foster homes b/c of abuse. However, some of the cases were a bit far fetched..like one lady who had his son burn his hand on a heater and when she took him to emergency they blamed it on her...almost took her son to foster home. I know the govt there is more active than it is here.
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#16 of 16 Old 09-26-2008, 01:13 PM
 
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I know the govt there is more active than it is here.
That's actually quite funny. Americans live in a country where the ruling party wants to deny a woman's right to choice, most states refuse to allow loving consenting adult partners to marry based on their sex, and the death penalty is eagerly enforced...now that's interfering in someone's personal life. From conception to end of life - birth, marriage, death.

Oh, yeah - then there's that whole invading foreign sovereign nations thing - because the government isn't satisfied interfere in its own citizen's lives, it wants to interfere in other countries too.

On the other hand, a more active, financially responsible American government would have saved a lot of people a lot of grief right now. I guess I find it funny what the American government thinks is worth acting over.

I'm not trying to be (too) disagreeable here, and I don't want this to degenerate into an argument about the relative merits of either country. The U.S. is a beautiful, dynamic country filled with generous people. I just think some perspective is helpful. You will always find differences in values and cultures between 2 nations. It's great that you recognize that Canada is different than the U.S - many Americans never understand that fact.

If you get caught up in comparisons, you may miss out on simply enjoying what is best and wonderful about both places.
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